Judge Thwarts Convicted Priest's Motion to Seal Court, Records

Daniel McCormack pleaded guilty two years ago to sexually abusing five boys

By BJ Lutz and Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Wednesday, Nov 4, 2009  |  Updated 5:17 PM CDT
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Daniel McCormack

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A motion from a defrocked priest and convicted sex offender to close the courtroom and seal the records in his upcoming sexually violent person detention hearing was thrown out Wednesday.

Daniel McCormack, who pleaded guilty two years ago to abusing five boys and was sentenced to five years in prison, had argued that the proceedings be closed to protect his privacy under the mental health act.

"We are not asking for secrecy, we are asking for protection under the laws of the State of Illinois," said Atty. Daniel Coyne of the Kent College of Law.

But the judge found that the novel argument was "too far and too broad in scope."

Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said Wednesday's ruling removes the same kind of the secrecy that allowed priest sex abuse to happen in the first place.

The upcoming proceedings are to decide whether McCormack, who was recently denied parole, should be confined to a state treatment facility under Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act. That law allows judges to keep sexual offenders locked up in a secure treatment facility until they are deemed to no longer be a threat to the public.

Another hearing has been set for Nov. 19.

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